I’ve been yelled at for most of my life about getting my priorities straight. I’ve been called “insincere” at parent-teacher meetings in school. I’ve been told to “get serious” by countless tuition teachers (yes, we’ve all given IIT-JEE, boo-hoo). I’ve been told by my (well-meaning and absolutely perfect) parents to “focus” on what’s “important”, which always translated to better grades, a better college, a better job etcetera, etcetera. At the unforgiving corporate environment, I’ve been told to perfect what is expected of me (hint: everything is) and more. And of course, I’ve been told not to write till 2 AM on a weeknight and turn up late for work.
As you can probably guess, I’ve still done mostly everything my way but I do try not to let anyone down. Good grades, sure. Good college, you got it. Good job, time will tell. But when does the nightmare end?!
What is with us and our endless thirst for success? As a kid, it’s homework till you graduate school. As a grad student, it’s papers and exams till you wear the funny hat. As an employee, it’s…well, it’s taxes and overtime and a living hell till you die. Is there any real point to any of this? Were we just made to die trying to afford that holiday to Europe (and probably never accumulate enough casual leave to go on it)? Some days, I genuinely do feel that’s the only way to go. On better ones, I remember words like “fun”, “family”, “love” and “getting a life”. I may sound repetitive, whiny and quite like a spoilt brat who’s never had to lift a finger let alone earn a living. The latter is most definitely true, but I digress.
It’s the oldest question in the industrial world: how do you manage to have a life while still being good at your job? (I swear I will strangle the next person who tells me to “love what you do”.) What about family and friends? What about a love life that isn’t just on Tinder? What about not having to answer calls and emails after 6 PM because you’re playing fetch with the dogs? I may sound frustrated but what I am is a little sad and a little helpless. I know ranting about this will not help; I know whining just makes me an entitled little humbug. But when the world is running after success and ambitions and you just want to take a moment to appreciate what you have and curl up with someone you love, you’re bound to be asking the same questions; again and again, till they become a part of your regular vocabulary and you just become “that kid who’s too lazy/full of herself to work on a weekend” (in what universe is that wrong?).
As a race, human beings have always been prone to choose exactly that which is bad for them. Maybe it’s time we chose “ourselves”.